A Mr. Chan Takes a (Polite) Stand

Yesterday there was a closed door meeting between Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang and electoral representatives from the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Association (presumably “Bow Tie” was out looking for votes, not a prescription for powdered deer horn). A meeting that was disrupted, gently, by a unhappy citizen named Chan.

From Sing Tao Daily (my English version):

After the meeting was over, according to reporters, the neighbor living in the apartment directly next door to the meeting place suddenly ran out. He pointed at the iron gate above, where he’d hung a “League of Social Democrats” banner, and said that he opposed the small circle elections.

His name was Mr. Chan.

The reporters asked him if that was the case, why didn’t he grab the opportunity to petition Mr. Tsang directly when he arrived at the meeting?

Mr. Chan replied that doing such a thing would be mouh laih mauh, impolite. The Chief Executive was an invited guest of his neighbors. Mr. Chan would be uncomfortable disturbing him that way. Mr. Chan emphasized that he himself did not belong to any political party, nor was he a radical. He wasn’t the kind of person to stick slogans and posters everywhere. That’s why he only put one LSD banner over his gate, so that Mr. Tsang would know he, Mr. Chan, opposed him.

But later, Mr. Chan said that if Hong Kong had universal suffrage, he’d still give his vote to “Bow Tie”, Donald Tsang. “Because he has administrative experience”.

“What I oppose is these small clique elections.”

Who is this Mr. Chan? Is he young or old, married or single? The newspaper doesn’t say, and provides no given names. Chan is one of the most common Cantonese surnames. Mr. Chan could be anybody in Hong Kong.

Or everybody.

I had a conversation with my buddy Francis yesterday about the CE elections. Francis is one of the sharpest political reporters in Hong Kong–he taught me most of what I know about HK politics. Anyway, I was telling him my theory that Alan Leong’s candidacy is ultimately bad for the cause of universal suffrage, because having a “contested” sham election gives the public–and foreigners–the feel-good illusion that Hong Kong is a real democracy.

Francis disagreed with me. “Don’t think the people of Hong Kong are so stupid. They know what the score is. And what this election is doing is reminding them over and over what they don’t have.”

Well, maybe Francis is right. Maybe that’s why, yesterday, a man named Chan stood up–very politely, yauh laih mauh–to be counted.

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